Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spoliarium: Among the Best of Filipino Paintings

The Spoliarium  by Filipino artist icon, Juan Luna.  

Luna entered this painting to the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1884, where it won a gold medal. In the same exposition, Hidalgo won a silver medal for his "Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho." (See photo below) Because of the twin victory of the two Filipino painters, Filipinos in Spain gathered to honor them. One of the Filipinos was Jose Rizal, who in boosting the two honorees also spoke for the first time of the conditions then prevailing in the Philippines which was then a colony of Spain

"Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho."  
 A Filipino art critic spoke of Luna thus: "Vigor and realism characterize his art. In a single brush stroke, he paints a fair of emotions that fills the beholder with drama and tragedy of his theme. Luna was graver, more profound in his emotions than Hidalgo. The latter was more pure, more serene in his feelings."
Luna sought inspiration not from his contemporaries, the Impressionists, but from the Romantic Delacroix, Rembrandt and Daumier from whom he learned imparting power and mysticism to his works. All these influences were incorporated in a style that was Luna's own. 
Luna's fame spread far and wide; he was acclaimed both in Europe and at home, yet there were skeptical Spaniards who took his race against him. Rizal defended him by saying, "Genius has no country, genius burst forth everywhere, is like light and air - the patrimony of all; cosmopolitan as space, as life as God."
Spoliarium viewed in Barcelona
 Note:  The "Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho" original was destroyed in a fire at the University of Valladolid Spain. The painting shown on the photo above is only a copy, currently on display at the Manila Metropolitan Museum.  For further information visit www.lopezmuseum.org.ph/bio_luna.html

1 comment:

  1. It's a shame I'm a Filipino, but I haven't viewed these paintings. Thank you for reminding me to see these.